Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and other leaders from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation visited Rio Salado College on Thursday, November 6 for a progress report on a student success program called RioAchieve, which is being developed by the college and supported by the foundation.
Gates and the foundation leaders attended meetings with Rio Salado and MCCD leadership and members of the President’s Advisory Board including Benevilla President and CEO Michelle Dionisio. Dionisio was invited to discuss its partnership with Rio Salado and the many ways in which this relationship enriches the northwest valley.
Benevilla and Rio Salado have worked together on many community projects such as Community For All Ages, Surprise Community Garden, leadership training, and sustainable nutrition classes. Over the years, members of Rio Salado leadership have served on the Benevilla board of directors.
“I heard inspiring stories of students who are taking advantage of these flexible learning models to pursue degrees that can put them on paths to new careers,” said Mr. Gates. “This kind of out-of-the-box thinking is needed…. I left Arizona feeling quite optimistic about what the future holds.”